By Aaron Reynolds
Perhaps more than any other sport in the world, boxing is not always about performance inside in the ring. It's also about charisma, stage presence, and likeability. In short, boxing is about performance and showmanship.
Notorious for his outlandish quotes, Iron Mike may have been one of the few boxers that actually met ever word he put down on paper. Tyson had his fair share of personal demons, including a number of run-ins with the law, but he still escaped it all to become a popular face of boxing and considered one of the all-time heavyweight greats.
Never forget to give love to the true OG's. Jack Johnson is considered by some to be the originator of modern trash-talk. He was the world's first black heavyweight champion and Johnson often carried an attitude that reflected African-American frustration during the height of the Jim Crow era. Johnson garnered a ton of media attention and used it to his advantage to show off his expensive lifestyle.
"Lights Out" James Toney took a page from Mike Tyson and also backed up his trash talk in the ring. He continues to be a likeable loudmouth post-retirement, much to the delight of boxing fans taking several shots at Mixed Martial Arts. Toney even fought in the UFC recently to back up his expletive laden rants. Now, that's cool.
Forget Floyd Mayweather and Roy Jones Jr., Mayorga is the prime example of an extreme trash-talker who sometimes goes a little above and beyond his talents inside the ring. Mayorga's record and legacy is average, at best, but outside the ring Mayorga never failed to deliver. He is a smoker that has toked up at press conferences and even after a fight. The eccentric Nicaraguan is not afraid to get personal and graced the December 2003 issue of Ring Magazine as the "craziest man in the sport". Yes, even crazier than Don King.
What can you say about Muhammad Ali that hasn't already been stated? Ali set the standard for showmanship both inside and outside the ring. He was able to walk the fine line between charismatic chatter and arrogant loudmouth, and did it well. Whether it was bad mouthing an opponent prior to facing off in the ring, or causing frustration inside it – Ali always won in that regard. He also was a great role model for not only blacks but all Americans. He spoke up and said something when it needed to be said, including taking a stance on the controversial war in Vietnam.
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